Citing the origins of his career as a DJ back to the Fisher-Price turntable he had growing up, music has always been a vital part of life for Lee Bradberry. Now, Bradberry shares his passion for music by DJing regularly in Auburn bars like Quixotes and 17-16 under the stage name DJ LEE.
Bradberry’s professional music career began about three years ago. His venture into the DJ world took off through friends already working as DJs and in bands locally, such as Ben Bruud and Blackberry Breeze.
“I had known previous DJs that were working around here. I knew Rainer, who used to play over at Skybar and then came over to Quixotes. ... And there’re other guys in town that I learned from,” Bradberry said.
Bradberry had one friend in particular, DJ Bemix, who frequently played at Quixotes. When Bemix left Q’s, he made a big push to get DJ LEE in his spot, said Bradberry. Since then, DJ LEE has consistently played at Q’s. He also recently began DJing at 17-16 about once or twice a month.
“I walk that fine line between being introverted and extraverted. I guess if I was just at the bar, I’d be more in the background, but now I help the party out,” Bradberry said.
When DJing, Bradberry plays mostly Top +40 songs with an open format style. He said he decides what to play by gauging the crowd’s reactions to his choices.
“If people don’t like what you’re playing, they’ll leave the floor. Some of them will even tell you. For some reason they hate Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ sometimes,” Bradberry said.
Bradberry said one of the more entertaining aspects of being a DJ is observing and interacting with the crowd.
“A fight broke out to a Fergie song once. Two guys just started fighting. I got on the mic and asked them, ‘How’re you going to fight to Fergie?’” Bradberry said.
Bradberry also mentioned girls who like to dance on stage and touch his tech equipment.
“I’ve got a system in place now where they can (touch the epuipment),” Bradberry said. “That’s what you have to do, just let them touch it, and then they’re fine. ... Throw it into internal mode so it plays off the computer, and then they can touch whatever they want except for the computer and nothing happens.”
Originally from Virginia but with family roots in Auburn, Bradberry spent summers growing up in Auburn. He knew he would probably attend the University eventually since most of his family is from Auburn and his grandmother worked for the University.
“It was tradition to come to Auburn, so I came to Auburn,” Bradberry said.
During his time attending the University, the DJ-to-be studied finance. He plans to eventually return to school and finish his degree. Bradberry noted how Virginia’s location in between the North and the South affected the music he listened to. There’s a lot of stuff coming from New York and the East Coast and then a lot of stuff coming from the South, Bradberry said.
“I listen to a lot of hip-hop, so especially in the 90s there were huge style differences (between the North and South). Now, not as much,” Bradberry said.
Lee’s work with music isn’t limited to the bar scene, however. He’s also worked on various friends’ albums. Most notably, however, is his interest in collecting records. Bradberry said he’s recently gotten into collecting 45s, the rarest format to collect.
“I really love funk. I was a big fan of funk and R&B, and now it’s become a contest to try to source the most obscure funk record I can find,” Bradberry said.
Bradberry said he usually travels to Atlanta to look for different records, but he also looks online for rare ones.
“Music and touching music has just always been there for me,” Bradberry said.